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Manga / RideBack

Rin Ogata and her Rideback, Fuego

Rideback is a Manga that was made into a Twelve-Episode Anime produced by Studio Madhouse in 2009, based on a manga published in 2003. In the near future, an organization called the GGP (known as the GGF in the manga) had taken control of the world. As they maintained order in society, the citizens quietly accepted their existence. However, a smaller resistance group, the BMA wished to overthrow the GGP.

The focus of the story is on Rin Ogata, a girl who was a promising up-and-coming ballet dancer, but suffered a Game-Breaking Injury. Years later, during university, she came across a club building and soon finds herself intrigued by a transforming motorcycle-like vehicle called a Rideback. She finds that her unique ballet skills with balance and finesse make her a born natural on a Rideback; as Rin becomes entangled in the government's affairs, she finds herself struggling to come to terms with both herself and the world around her.

Rideback provides examples of:

  • Ace Pilot: The three most notable Rideback operators are Rin Ogata, Tamayo Kataoka and Kiefer.
  • Acronym Confusion: The anime never notes what "BMA" means (it's shown as "Borderless Military Alliance" in the manga), and chooses "GGP" over "GGF" (Global Government Plan vs. Forces) in the anime.
  • Adapted Out: Several characters with key interests in the manga are missing from the anime adaptation.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: GGP's automated Grimores, which are programmed for search and destroy operations.
  • Alphabet News Network: SNN
  • America Takes Over the World: Subverted. In fact, the anime suggests that the U.S. government began to fall, starting with an important battle by the fledgling GGP against a missile silo installation in Arizona. The U.S. still stands, as Intrepid Reporter Yoda visits Arizona, but it's role as a superpower appears to be over.
  • Badass Biker: Rin, plus most of the Mushashino Rideback Club.
  • Beergasm: Dota enjoys his beer on outings with the Rideback club.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Rin has quite a few of these, along with Okakura.
  • Bury Your Gays: The first main character dying during the series is Suzuri.
  • Caught the Heart on His Sleeve: Shouko to Hishida
  • The Chase: Most of the action outside of Rideback racing boils down to chase scenes.
  • Cool Bike: The Ridebacks are essentially transforming motorcycles with advanced balance and control mechanisms.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Rin, alone and aboard Fuego, takes on 12 Grimoire robot Ridebacks simultaneously in an impressive dance of destruction in the final episode.
  • Conspicuous CG: The Ridebacks and other vehicles are clearly CG compared to other elements in the show.
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: Tamayo: when she ditches her hat, it suddenly becomes a Badass Longcoat.
  • Dance Battler: Rin lives and breathes this while on her Rideback, since her skill comes from dancing.
  • Disappeared Dad: While this is the case in the anime, he appears in the manga.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: RideBacks have a mode called the 'Spread Legs' form.
  • Driving Question: "What happened at the Battle of Arizona?" Okakura was badly scarred. Romanov Kallenbach became obsessed with killing Kiefer.
  • False Flag Operation: Episode 6, "The Lightning-Fast RideBack" is of the "arm and incite the enemy so you have an excuse to squish them" variety. On top of that, it's also a weapons test which Goes Horribly Right in every way imaginable; the Mini-Mecha the GGP are testing are so effective that they kill most of the "terrorists" by accident and end up torturing and blackmailing the survivor into confessing for one of the deaths just to keep the perceived threat level high. Said survivor just happens to be Kenji Ogata(yes, Rin's younger brother), and the capture and interrogation acts as a catalyst for her eventual recruitment by La Résistance. Oh, and Rin trashes both of the police mechs just as easily as they did the "terrorists" - using a damaged knockoff, not her Ace Custom Fuego - so the test proved the "White Riders" to be a complete failure: too powerful to use on rioters, mere Mooks against a skilled opponent.
  • Famed In-Story: Tamayo is known to be a national Rideback champion. Rin is well recognized by her Red Baron title.
  • Fangirl: Suzuri Uchida
  • Fanservice: There are subtle traces in the series.
  • Far-East Asian Terrorists: The Borderless Military Alliance as an anti-GGP/GGF guerrilla force, though the latter considers them to be terrorists
  • Fell Into The Cockpit: An interesting variation as Rin did come across the Rideback via fighting. She just wandered into a school club's warehouse and was given the opportunity to ride it, becoming nearly an Instant Expert.
  • Foreign Language Theme: The anime's opening is a Mell song (who also did the Black Lagoon intro); presumably it's in English. Good luck deciphering the lyrics on your own, though.
  • Four Is Death: The show takes a darker turn after the fourth episode and culminates with Suzuri's death in episode 10.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: BMA. The higher ranking GGP troops stick with military-style helmets and Cool Shades.
  • Genki Girl: Suzuri Uchida.
  • Graceful in Their Element: Rin is unsure of herself in the time after her injury that compels her to leave dancing. But her discovery that a Rideback responds to her commands as her own body in dance reenergizes her.
  • Grasp the Sun: Rin, after suffering her ballet injury. Similarly, Fuego grasps the sun when it suffers an identical injury in a very symbolic scene.
  • Gratuitous English: "ALL GET FREED" is one of several lines from the opening song's lyrics that comes across as this.
  • Guilt by Coincidence: Suzuri becomes a target of this when she is mistaken for an escaped Rin at a protest rally while riding a Rideback. She is chased and killed by the police while trying to just get a message of encouragement off to Rin, who was passing by on a train.
  • Heroic BSOD: Rin remains in one of these throughout the second half of the series, but especially after the death of Suzuri. She reboots at the end of episode 11.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The GGP/GGF forces shoot at enemy Ridebacks. However, either the Ridebacks are too swift or the armed attackers are just plain terrible, resulting in fewer hits than they should. In one scene, Rin blocks incoming gunfire with one of Fuego's arms just before leaping over a blockade line. Justified that Rin's remarkable agility aboard a Rideback takes the forces aback as they watch it move away.
  • Instant Expert: Rin borderlines with this when using an extremely advanced Rideback. Though it took a while to fully master the controls, her ballet skills allowed her to balance and move the vehicle beyond automated systems.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Megumi Yoda, without very much regard for her own safety. One noticable instance was her reaction to a terrorist attack in the middle of a press conference, where she wished to continue gathering news rather than retreat to safety.
  • Kill the Cutie: Suzuri's death at the hands of the police.
  • Killed Offscreen: Rin's mother. As Suzuri implied in her Fangirl excitement, Rin's mother died in an earthquake 6 years prior. Viewers get to see memories of young Rin with her mother.
  • Let's Dance: When Rin is riding Fuego, she is nearly unstoppable and will attempt to dance you to death with the Rideback. A lesson learned by several destroyed Grimoire enemy robots. Shoko almost declares this as she watches Rin in one instance.
  • La Résistance: A notable nested example, as the GGP was originally a resistance group which opposed American interventionism. No one was more surprised than the GGP when they won, taking America's place as the world's only superpower. However, in the ten years since then, increasing abuses on their part has made many of its former supporters(among them RideBack Club president Tenshiro Okakura AKA "Goblin") realize that it was a Full-Circle Revolution. This has, in turn, led to the rise of the BMA.
  • Like a Duck Takes to Water: Rin Ogata was a rising ballet star who suffered a Game-Breaking Injury. But it turns out ballet training synchs up pretty darn well with Mini-Mecha piloting.
  • Magic Skirt: Rin's skirt generally avoids unnecessary exposure while she rides the Fuego. Averted in the climatic last fight.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The Grimoires.
  • Meganekko: Suzuri.
  • Mini-Mecha: Some of the mini-est in fiction; there's no enclosure, just a motorcycle chassis with arms, with the wheels capable of "standing" to become legs.
  • Name's the Same: Rin Ogata almost had a namesake by the name of Rina Ogata in White Album; the latter was also voiced by Nana Mizuki.
  • Never Be a Hero: Rin doesn't actually want to be a rebel nor understand the cause that others think she represents, she just impulsively uses the Rideback to try to help those she knows and unintentionally gets dragged into more serious conflicts.
  • New Technology Is Evil: A Discussed Trope. The GGP invented the RideBacks and used them to Take Over the World. When the tech trickles down to the civilian level, Rin's obsession with Fuego leads her to actions that draw the GGP's attention and subsequently finds herself involved in their campaign to consolidate their power in Japan - and La Résistance against it.
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever happened during the Arizona Campaign between Kiefer, Goblin and Kalenback is hardly discussed in detail, but serious enough for the three of them to go through great risks to fight each other from their respective sides.
  • Opt Out: When Rin's brother is framed for murder and she realizes that she might have to hurt people, Rin proves unable to bear the burden of being a member of La Résistance and quits just as the rebellion prepares to strike.
  • Police Brutality: A prevalent theme throughout the series, but the instances within episodes 6 and 10 are especially prominent, where law enforcement officials have little objections towards application of lethal force towards civilians.
  • Porn Stash: Rin's brother Kenji, who has one mixed in with his much larger Rideback Stash.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The anime shaves off a couple of aspects from the original manga in order for the story to be completed with its 12 episode run, particularly a certain totalitarian feel not quite experienced in the anime.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: ''Pictures At An Exhibition" is a frequently played as Rin's motif.
  • Red Baron: Rin's media given title of "Mysterious Rideback Girl" and later just "Rideback Girl."
    • Tamayo Kataoka, also known as the "Rideback Princess" for her racing achievements.
    • Tenshirō Okakura, better known in the GGP and BMA military circles as Goblin.
  • Reverse Mole: Kalenback's second-in-command in the anime. She's not a warmonger and shown to question his aggressive behavior, following his orders only to the end when she forces him to stand down—and then shoots him when he tries to kill Kiefer.
  • Shown Their Work: Goblin uses proper UNIX-style commands to force enemy robot Ridebacks to shutdown immediately.
  • Superheroes Wear Capes: During the TV Tower attack and Shoko's rescue, Rin's Rideback temporarily gains a cape made from a curtain, which only adds to her notoriety as the "Mysterious Rideback Girl."
  • Super Window Jump: Slightly justifiable since a Rideback and the rider's clothing would block most of the glass...except that Rin usually goes flying through windows in her street clothes.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: GGP acts like this, first. Later, it degenerated into The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized, and another group called the BMA plays both tropes straight.
  • Transforming Mecha: Ridebacks can transform into Mini-Mecha.
  • Unkempt Beauty: Just a slight example. More often than not, Rin's hair is messy and needs combing.
  • Wham Episode: Episode ten.

Alternative Title(s): Rideback